Article written by
Tina MagrabiSenior Content Writer
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Table of contents
Is cannabis really a beauty treatment? Several years back, not many people thought to use cannabis as an ingredient in cosmetics and beauty treatments. Fast-forward to now, and cannabis has taken the world by storm. Cannabis, and in particular cannabidiol (CBD), has become one of the most sought-after products in spas and dispensaries alike.
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How Did Cannabis Become a Beauty Product?
A greater understanding of the natural benefits of cannabis and a more liberal outlook on cannabis consumption has seen various states in the US (and a few other countries) loosen restrictions. However, federal law has made it difficult for trade to exist between states. This hasn’t stopped companies from adding cannabis to their products to take advantage of the plant’s medicinal value (although how medical some of these products are is still questionable). Cannabis has been increasingly used as an active ingredient in many products in the food and beverage industry and the cosmetics industry.
Many people think of consuming cannabis in terms of edibles and tinctures. Still, many others are looking at its application as a topical ingredient that could potentially revolutionize the cosmetics industry. It has already been imprinted in consumers’ minds that cannabis can yield miraculous results for various conditions (although definitive evidence is still pending in many instances).
Cannabis’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties have convinced several consumers to use cannabis-based beauty products for skin and beauty treatments. Cannabis also boasts antibacterial and vitamin-rich properties.
Psoriasis is characterized by scales and itchy, dry patches on the skin’s surface. While the disease is not lethal, the fact that there is no cure for it has left many hopeless. Cannabis is touted to be a potent treatment for psoriasis. Recent research has hinted that cannabinoids found in cannabis can be a powerful ingredient in treating skin diseases. Cannabinoids’ anti-inflammatory properties and inhibitory effects can avert the spreading of dead skin cells. These are still early days, and much research is still needed to understand how much of an impact cannabis will have in treating psoriasis.
Acne is caused by bacterial infections, skin dehydration, hair follicles clogged with dead skin cells, and oil from the skin. Cannabis comprises fatty acids boosting hydrating properties to prevent acne blowouts/flare-ups and eliminate oily skin. The anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties eradicate bacterial infections to prevent acne’s spreading.
Cannabis skin products come with anti-inflammatory properties that prevent the clogging of pores. The dead cells are shed immediately to ward off the inflammation of acne. THC may increase sebum production, which can help dry skin. CBD may help prevent oily skin.
THC may cause a short-term spike in testosterone (thereby increasing acne flare-ups), but ultimately decrease testosterone production, making THC more of a long-term treatment option. CBD can help exfoliate the skin, but care must be taken about the accumulation of dead skin.
CBD is an extremely powerful antioxidant agent, potentially very effective in reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Lipid-rich cannabis beauty products moisturize your skin, making it appear young and fresh. Cannabis decimates the harmful free radicals that attack your skin cells. Many products are enriched with coconut oil and other vitamin-rich ingredients, which can also help hydrate and soothe the skin.
Soothing Your Skin with Cannabis
CBD may effectively treat skin rashes, causing irritation and itching sensation. They can relieve pain caused by bug bites, and skin abrasions, among many others, and reduce associated swelling. According to a report published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology by the University of Colorado School of Medicine, cannabinoids have the potential to relieve severe itching and pruritus. Cannabinoids present in cannabis reduce dry skin that gives rise to itching.
Recently, it has also come to light that cannabis is a highly potent ingredient to treat atopic dermatitis (AD), a skin condition characterized by itchy, red, swollen, and dry skin. Cannabinoids interact with skin receptors to inhibit the symptoms and enhance the appearance of your skin. In a study conducted on AD patients, cannabis cream reduced the severity of itching by an average of 60 percent among the participants.
However, it must be stated that much of the data gathered on cannabis and its potential to treat skin conditions is preclinical, and large-scale, randomized, controlled trials are needed.
Killing Microbial Organisms with Cannabis
Researchers have recently uncovered that cannabis has greater potential to kill superbugs and microbes than previously thought. The cannabinoid CBD can kill bacteria resistant to established antibiotics, as revealed in recent research.
Even more surprising to the researchers was that cannabis did not lose its effectiveness even with extended usage. Cannabis can rummage biofilms, a physical form of bacteria’s growth that produces lethal infections. A study revealed that five cannabinoids – THC, CBD, CBG, CBC, and CBN – have the ability to decimate some types of bacteria, most notably the MRSA bacterium, which can cause serious antibiotic-resistant staph infections. Another study also placed the terpene pinene, a substance developed on the surface of cannabis flowers and leaves, as a potent agent in eradicating MRSA bacterium and other such bacteria.
The potential benefits of cannabis to skin uncovered by this research spread like wildfire, and many cosmetics companies wanted to get their hands on cannabis. Today, cannabis is used in a wide spectrum of beauty products, from body lotion to lip gloss.
Topical Cannabis Creams
Topical cannabis creams are applied directly over the areas of your skin that require attention. The creams are usually used to treat psoriasis, inhibit inflammation, and relieve pain, making them potentially useful for arthritis. CBD-enriched cannabis topicals are also applied to scars left over from wounds and cuts to improve their appearance. The smell of cannabis can be a little overwhelming sometimes, and hence other fragrances are added to the cream.
Cannabis Body Lotion
Cannabis body lotions are available for all skin types. They are easy to apply, making them one of the preferred cannabis skincare products. They are easily absorbed by your skin and hydrate your skin from underneath the surface. Most cannabis body lotions comprise Cannabis sativa seed oil as their main ingredient.
Cannabis CBD Oils
CBD oil has become one of the most coveted products in recent times. CBD oils are available in isolated form or in the combined form of hemp or coconut with CBD oil. You can find the form of the oil ideal for you through reviews and lab results. CBD oil may treat acne, get rid of wrinkles, and soothe your skin.
Cannabis mascara uses cannabis oil as the binding agent instead of beeswax, for which there is a stark shortage worldwide. Some vegans stay away from mascara due to the usage of beeswax. Cannabis oil replaces beeswax and has become the go-to mascara for most vegans. Cannabis oil-based mascara comes in different ranges.
Cannabis Lip Glaze or Gloss
Cannabis lip glaze is ideal for dry, cracked lips as it not only moisturizes the lips with its hydrating properties but also soothes the lips and prevents moisture loss by creating a thin film barrier over the surface of the lips. It is usually combined with other moisturizing agents to enrich your skin further.
The Bottom Line
The air around the benefits of cannabis products is still cloudy. While most skincare products claim that cannabis boasts numerous benefits to skin care, no solid evidence has been presented yet to support the claim. Most evidence is preclinical or on populations of small sample sizes.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of cannabis to treat only certain conditions, such as epilepsy. Significant research is still needed to analyze the overall impact that cannabis has on our health.
Some people may also be allergic to cannabis-based products due to terpenes or other parts of the cannabis plant in the product. So, it is always wise to consult a professional dermatologist when using cannabis skin products. While a lot of uncertainty still prevails around cannabis, there is one thing we can all agree on – cannabis beauty products are here to stay for a very long time.
To go beyond beauty and use cannabis for your health, contact the experts at Leafwell. Our qualified physicians are here to help you apply for a medical marijuana card.
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